Chapter 84: Not a Single Question Correct

Looking at the infuriated Yang Wei, Zu An laughed softly and said, “Actually, there’s a very easy method to resolve this situation. I’ll just set twenty questions too, and regardless of whether you cheat or guess your way through, as long as you can solve them all… Forget it, I’ll give you a discount. If you could even solve half of them, I’ll immediately pack up my stuff and get out of the academy. Otherwise, I expect you to hold to the end of your bet. How does that sound?”

No matter what, Yang Wei was still an official of the royal court and a teacher officially hired by the academy. Neither Zu An himself nor the academy was in a good position to expel him over a mere bet. However, what if Yang Wei couldn’t even answer a single question he had set? No matter how shameless he was, there was no way he would have the face to continue staying here.

Yang Wei was taken aback by the sudden proposal. Just thinking about how Zu An managed to easily solve all twenty questions was enough to intimidate him. His confidence was deflating. 

Shang Liuyu made use of this opportunity to chirp in, “Teacher Yang, surely you can’t be intimidated by your student, right?”

“Of course not!” Yang Wei immediately straightened his posture. “Do your worst then! I’ll solve even 200 questions if that’s what it needs to make you submit!”

This wasn’t a bad bet. He might not be able to solve all twenty questions, but at the very least, he felt that he should at least be able to answer ten of them. He was a renowned arithmetic expert in Brightmoon City after all, having calculated years of taxes for the Civil Affairs Department now. There was no way a kid’s questions could possibly stumble him. As long as he succeeded, he would be able to send Zu An packing from the academy!

Zu An could somewhat guess what Yang Wei was thinking from his reaction, and he smiled to himself. I shall show you the horrors of mathematics then!

There were many plausible questions he could come up with, but he decided not to use the less mainstream geometry questions. There was probably no one in the world who knew about pi, radius of a circle, and that sort of thing, and others would only think that he was intentionally making things difficult for Yang Wei. 

In order to crush Yang Wei thoroughly, what he had to do was to come up with questions that everyone understood but was unable to solve. Got it!

Moving his brush swiftly, it didn’t take long for Zu An to write down twenty questions. Then, with an honest smile, he passed the paper over and said, “Since you’re a renowned arithmetic expert, I trust that these questions wouldn’t pose any problem to you.”

Yang Wei was surprised by Zu An’s sudden humility. He unnaturally harrumphed a little before saying, “Of course. How difficult could questions coming from a junior like you be?”

So, he took the paper and read the first question:

‘Two numbers from 1 to 20. The result of the addition of the two numbers is given to Person 1, and the multiplication of the two numbers is given to Person 2. Person 1 said that he didn’t know what the two numbers are, and Person 2 said that he didn’t know either. However, it was then that Person 1 said that he knew the answer now, and Person 2 swiftly remarked that he knew the answer too.

‘So, what are the two numbers?’

Based on the questions Yang Wei had come up with, the concept of multiplication did exist in this world, so it wasn’t out of the syllabus.

Yang Wei blinked his eyes several times after seeing the question. What the hell is this? I’ve never seen such questions before! T-this… How the hell do I solve such a question?!

The question looked simple enough to him at first glance, but when he tried to solve it, cold sweat began dripping from his face. He realized that despite the knowledge he had accrued throughout his entire life, he was actually unable to figure out a way to solve this question! 

Putting him aside, the surrounding students also began discussing the question. It was their first time seeing such a novel question before. However, even after racking their brains for a long while, they still had no idea how to embark on it.

“Silence!” 

Yang Wei thought that he could get some inspiration from the students around, but most of their utterances were nonsensical, hardly contributing anything at all. This made him incredibly frustrated.

In response, the students stuck out their tongues at him. You’re the one who can’t solve the question. Why are you venting your frustrations on us?

Yang Wei’s face turned as black as charcoal upon hearing their mutterings. But all of a sudden, he realized that there were only twenty numbers in total. At most, I’ll just try the numbers one by one. I reckon that’s how that fellow solved my questions earlier!

With such thoughts in mind, he quickly composed himself before proceeding on with his calculations.

The students looked at his workings on the paper, and they couldn’t help but feel deeply impressed. As expected of the teacher. He managed to find a way to work out the answer in just a few moments.

Meanwhile, Zu An sat on a chair with his legs crossed as he sipped on a cup of tea which Wei Suo brought out from god knows where. His eyes were directed on Shang Liuyu, appreciating her marvelous figure. Despite having met quite a few beauties after coming to this world, he had to admit that her charm was the real deal.

Shang Liuyu, on the other hand, was focused on the question. Even though she was a foreign language teacher, she still knew a thing or two about arithmetic. She was able to solve most of the questions that Yang Wei came up with earlier, but the question Zu An devised was simply too bizarre. No matter how she thought it through, she had no idea how to solve the question.

So, she subconsciously shot a glance toward Zu An, only to notice that the latter was staring at her. Amused by how his attention was wandering despite being in the midst of an important bet, she thought, ‘This lad sure is confident in himself. He really is different from the others.

In contrast to Zu An’s relaxed demeanor, Yang Wei’s clothes were already completely drenched in sweat by now. Initially, he was still making some progress with the guess and check method, but he was getting more and more muddled up as he progressed. Somehow, every answer he arrived at didn’t seem right to him.

He gulped down his saliva as he shot a look at Zu An, only to see that the latter was staring back at him with an enigmatic smile on his lips. All of a sudden, it struck him. This fellow must have intentionally put the hardest question in front to trap me! I nearly fell for his ploy!

Yang Wei decided to proceed on with the next question before returning to this later on.

He flipped over to the second question, and this was what he saw.

‘There are three doors in front of you, but only one of them contains a treasure. The other two are empty. After you selected a door, someone helped you open one of the two remaining doors and revealed that it was empty. Then, the person offered you the chance to switch to another door. With the goal of maximizing the probability of choosing the door with the treasure, would you switch to another door? Please state the reason behind your decision.

Yang Wei was delighted. 

That fellow has indeed put the hardest question in front. This is much easier! Hmph! Isn’t the probability the same regardless of whether I change doors or not? He even tried to mislead me by phrasing it as if there’s a better decision here. Do you take me for a fool?

He quickly wrote down ‘I won’t switch to another door’. However, still worried that his answer might be too ambiguous, he jotted down ‘Regardless of whether I switch doors or not, the probability of selecting the door with the treasure is the same’.

Satisfied with his answer, he moved on to the third question.

‘Five pirates managed to obtain 100 ki stones in a raid. Bandit A was given the right to decide the distribution, but the proposal he comes up with must be agreed upon by more than half of the pirates in order for it to be executed. Otherwise, he would be thrown into the sea, and Bandit B will be given the right to determine the distribution with the same rules applied. Assuming that you’re Bandit A, how should you distribute the ki stones in order to maximize your gain?

‘Please assume that the pirates are rational arithmetic experts, and they’re able to accurately calculate their gains and losses to decide on the best course of action that maximizes their gains.’

Yang Wei was stunned. Just what in the world is in that fellow’s mind to come up with such weird questions? 

His first response was to equally distribute the 100 ki stones amongst all of the pirates, but he soon threw out the answer and tried to calculate other possibilities.

The students also began discussing fervently with one another what the answer should be, but none of them had a clue what the optimal distribution for Bandit A was. 

Meanwhile, Liu Shangyu found the use of the term ‘pirates’ in the question rather endearing. This lad sure comes up with interesting questions.

A while later, Yang Wei took out his already soaked handkerchief once more to wipe his sweat. He was already in a full-blown panic mood by now. He realized that he couldn’t verify whether his answer was right or not.

Should I move on to the next question? 

Yang Wei remembered how Zu An had chosen to put the hardest question in front, and he figured that the questions behind should be easier. So, he took in a deep breath and proceeded on to look at the fourth question.

‘Five prisoners, numbered from 1 to 5, will be taking out green beans from a rucksack filled with 100 green beans in turn. The rules state that they’ll have to take at least one green bean, and that the prisoners who take the most and the least green beans will be sentenced to death. The prisoners aren’t allowed to communicate with one another, but they are able to count the number of beans left in the rucksack through touch. Which of the five prisoners has the highest chance of survival?

‘Note:
1) All of the prisoners are smart, rational people who will decide on the best course of action for them.
2) Their primary aim is to survive, followed by killing as many people as possible.
3) There’s no need to fully distribute all 100 green beans amongst themselves.
4) If there are more than one prisoner who took the most or the least green beans, they would both be sentenced to death.’

Yang Wei nearly burst out cursing on the spot. What is this dumb question? Why are there so many rules here? The question looked simple at first glance, but if one were to start thinking about the specifics, there were so many factors to consider that it could blow one’s mind.

He spent a while attempting to work out a solution before eventually giving up and moving on to the next question.

‘There are 100 people on an island. 5 of them have red eyes and 95 of them have blue eyes. This island has three weird rules:

‘1) They aren’t to look into the mirror or any water surfaces, such that it’s impossible for them to see their own eye colors2) They can’t tell others what their eye colors are3) Once a person realizes that he has red eyes, he would have to commit suicide that very night

‘One day, an adventurer arrived on the island. Oblivious to the rules, while he was partying with everyone else on the island, he accidentally let it slip that “Some of you have red eyes”.

‘Assuming that everyone on the island is smart and capable of logical deduction, what do you think will happen on the island afterward?’

Yang Wei’s eyes lit up. This question was much easier than the ones before. He grabbed his brush right away and began jotting down his answer.

… 

… 

… 

Just like that, with bouts of smiles and bouts of stress, he went through the questions one by one. Eventually, he realized that he was only able to solve a few of them.

By this point, a huge crowd had already formed outside the classroom. Classes had already ended, but to everyone’s astonishment, none of the students from the most mischievous Yellow class had left yet. Out of curiosity, the students from the other classes decided to head over to take a look, and it didn’t take long for the bet between Zu An and Yang Wei to spread around the entire academy, drawing in massive crowds.

If it was only a simple duel between Zu An and Yang Wei, the proud prodigies of the Sky class probably wouldn’t bother checking things out. However, things were different if Shang Liuyu was here. 

Shang Liuyu was the most popular teacher in Brightmoon Academy. Her classes were always packed to the brim, and her students were always incredibly focused. Their eyes were simply too busy appreciating her beauty to possibly be distracted by anything else.

Some of the students were here to watch the drama, but the majority were here to look at Shang Liuyu. However, it didn't take them long to be drawn to Zu An’s questions.

What was interesting about Zu An’s questions was that they were very easily understood. Most people felt that they were doable, such that they couldn’t help but start discussing the solutions and answers with one another. Even the prodigies of the Sky class, who were usually interested only in cultivation, began making calculations too.

“Brother-in-law, you’re the best!” 

Needless to say, Chu Huanzhao wasn’t one to miss a commotion, and she seemed oddly proud about the situation. It was almost as if she was the one in the limelight right now. She didn’t think too much into her feelings; she thought that it was a shared sense of glory arising from them being fellow members of the Chu clan.

The adorable Ji Xiaoxi was also standing amidst the crowd, looking over the questions in interest. Even the slight frown on her face did little to mar her beauty. “How are these questions supposed to be solved? Should I go back and ask my father about them? Ah, but father isn’t interested in this sort of stuff. He only likes those perverted magazines he has stowed in his room. He seems to have gotten a new book recently, and he’s acting secretly about it. He doesn’t even allow me to come close to it. Hmph…” 

Pei Mianman, dressed in a black cloak that concealed her proud figure, was also watching the spectacle. Her lips inched up into an amused smile as she remarked, “This fellow sure is an interesting one. Chu Chuyan does have a sharp eye for people. Should I find an opportunity to nab him over to my side? It should be interesting to take her stuff away from her…”

Hiding at the very back of the crowd was an alarmed Zheng Dan. The reports she had browsed through depicted Zu An to be a good-for-nothing, leaving her with the impression that Zu An was simply lucky at the Silverhook casino to earn 7,500,000 silver taels. She didn’t expect Zu An to actually be this skilled in arithmetic. 

It looks like it wasn’t just luck at play at the Silverhook Casino. I reckon that Yang Wei will be done in by him, though I sure do wonder who was the one who sent Yang Wei after him. 

Still, I should probably proceed carefully from now on, lest my honey trap backfires on me.

Some time later, Shang Liuyu finally reminded softly, “Teacher Yang, it’s already over time.”

Yang Wei wiped off the sweat on his face as he said, “Give me a while more, I’m about to be done.”

All along, he had been the one to see students struggling to solve his questions under the time limit. Who could have thought that he would be put in the same position one day?

However, with so many people spectating the bet, he couldn’t bring himself to be so shameless as to drag things out for too long. After writing a while longer, he finally put his brush down and said, “I’m done.”

To be honest, other than for two questions, he had no confidence in the answers he had provided at all. However, he felt that it shouldn’t be a huge problem. At the very least, he should be able to get ten questions correct at the minimum.

He was relieved that he didn’t arrogantly declare that he would get all twenty questions right at the start, or else it would already be all over for him. As long as he could get ten questions correct, it still wouldn’t look too bad on him. After all, everyone here had a taste of just how difficult the questions were.

“How is it? I managed to at least get ten of them right, didn’t I?” Waiting calmly as Zu An checked his answers, Yang Wei slipped his drenched handkerchief back into his pocket as a gleeful smile emerged on his lips. 

Of the entire Brightmoon City, he was confident that no one would be able to fare better than him on the test—well, maybe except for Zu An the pervert.

“As expected of Teacher Yang, he managed to answer all of the questions!”

“Wow, that’s really impressive. I don’t even know how to answer a single question at all.”

“Teacher Yang is not our arithmetic teacher for nothing. How can he hold his own without some skills?”

“Still, I must say that the questions Zu An came up with are truly tough. His proficiency in arithmetic is definitely at least on par with Teacher Yang.”

“I reckon it’s just Teacher Yang going easy on him. There’s no reason for him to take a student so seriously after all.”

… 

Yang Wei felt his back straightening upon hearing the commentary of the students around. It looked like he had managed to build up quite some prestige for himself over the years. He turned to glance at Shang Liuyu as he patted his chest, relieved that he had at least managed to salvage his reputation before her. 

It was just that Shang Liuyu wasn’t looking at him at all. Her eyes were staring intently at Zu An, curious as to what the results would be.

Then, Zu An finally began speaking up, “Is this the level you’re at? It looks like I’ve overestimated you. You didn’t even manage to get a single question correct!”

An uproar broke out in the classroom.

“What?” Yang Wei thought that he was hearing things. There’s no way I could have gotten everything wrong! He glared at Zu An in aggravation as he hollered furiously, “Lies! How dare you slander me!”

You have successfully trolled Yang Wei for +1024 Rage!

It was just a second ago that he was feeling good about himself, but in the next moment, it was announced before practically everyone in the academy that he hadn’t gotten a single question correct. This sudden nosedive in his emotions was simply too great for him to bear!

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